April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Chemicals in soybeans reduced the effects of menopause in rats, according to a Taiwanese study.
The researchers found that dietary supplementation with soy aglycons of isoflavone (SAI) -- a group of chemicals found in soybeans -- lowered cholesterol, boosted the anti-oxidative abilities of the liver, and prevented degeneration of the vaginal lining in female rats who'd had their ovaries removed.
"These ovariectomized animals are a good model for study of the menopause as the loss of estrogen from the ovaries mimics the natural reduction in estrogen seen in menopausal women," study leader Robin Chiou, of the National Chiayi University in Taiwan, said in a news release. "SAI itself has weak estrogenic properties, and we've shown here that menopause-related syndromes can be prevented or improved by dietary supplementation with the compounds it contains."
The researchers said their study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, supports "the indication that soybean consumption may prevent coronary heart disease."
Chiou and colleagues also suggested soy supplementation may provide an alternative to hormone replacement therapy, which has been linked to uterine and breast cancers.
SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, April 8, 2009